Isaiah Chapter 53

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Actually about three verses from the end of chapter 52 should be included here, because they also are speaking of the future Messiah.

Isaiah 52: verses 13 - 15

  • 13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

There are a few scriptures in the New Testament that refer to the Messiah being exalted after His days of suffering for our sins. Extolled simply means to be highly praised.

  • Hebrews 1:3  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;  

Hebrews is a good place to learn of the details of the change in the priesthood from the Levites to Christ. The one who came as a babe from a poor family, to suffer and die for sins is now exalted to the right hand of God waiting for the day He returns first to gather all His believers and second to set up His eternal kingdom.

  • Philippians 2:9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  

Two more verses in Isaiah 52:

  • 14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
  • 15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

We see here reference to the first coming of Jesus when He suffered such destruction of His body by beatings, men pulling out His beard, nails put in His hands and feet and dying before those that hated Him. He came first as the son of Joseph the suffering servant, His second coming shall be as the son of David the King. The New Testament quotes from this part of the Old Testament scripture more than any other section. It surely is the most important part that God wants us to understand.

Jesus' sufferings also remind us of the Joseph in the book of Genesis who was sold as a slave. He ended up in Egypt, was falsely accused, sent to prison but in the end was exalted as second to   Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Its very necessary that we understand that Jesus had to come to make an offering for sin before His coming to set up His kingdom on earth and deliver Israel from their enemies. A savior from sin was hard to get people to understand but vital to our salvation.

The sprinkling of many nations may refer to the sprinkling of His own blood to cleanse of sin. This would be for cleansing and purification. We see an example of this under the law given to Israel by Moses in Leviticus chapter 8 and also Exodus chapter 29.

Also in the New Testament:

  • 1John 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  

Now we begin Isaiah 53.

  • Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

This whole chapter could not possibly apply to any person except the Lord Jesus Christ. He fulfills this prophecy that was given by Isaiah approximately 700 years before the 1st coming of Christ. No one else can possibly be the Son of God and the Messiah. Jewish Rabbis have studied and pondered Isaiah 53. Some were confused by it, some avoided it and some admitted that this can only refer to the Messiah even though they didn't admit that the Messiah was the one we call Jesus.

  • John 12:37 But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they believed not on him:
  • 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?

Verse one in Isaiah 53 is fulfilled in latter times when Jesus was preaching the gospel. This is also was spoken of by Paul the apostle.

  • Romans 10:15 and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things!
  • 16 But they did not all hearken to the glad tidings. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

Isaiah asks here, "Who has believed our report?" Jesus Christ is the arm of the Lord revealed to all that believe upon Him.

  • Isaiah 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him

Here shows that the Messiah was not going to be coming the first time with glory and pomp. He would not have been a famous personality and have worldly charm that attracts the approval of the world around Him. He did not come among the rich and affluent. He was not born into a family of the rich and prominent. Yet He was born from the lineage of King David and was qualified to be King of Israel. If were looking for a world renowned Messiah they were looking in the wrong direction. Israel was under Roman oppression and spiritually it was a very sad time in their history. John the Baptist was called to start the awakening to prepare for the coming of the Lord.

  • Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not .

We see here a Messiah that was despised and rejected of men. We see sorrow not joy. We see one that was rejected by His own countrymen. They were looking for a great and powerful military leader to deliver them from the Roman army. They were looking for a savior but not a savior from sin. They were looking for a savior from Roman oppression.

  • John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
  • 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
  • 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 

Until we recognize our need to be saved from sin, we will not see a savior from oppressing kingdoms. The sin problem had to be dealt with first. Sin cannot inherit the kingdom of God. The Messiah came first to die and be a sacrifice for our sins. Before we can inherit the literal Kingdom of God that is to come, we first must become part of the Kingdom of God that is Spiritual. That is the kingdom within the soul of our innermost being. We have to be "Born again" by the Spirit of God. It's a regeneration, a change from the inside. This comes about when we repent and renounce our sins and receive the Messiah, Jesus Christ into our inner spirit by faith. When He comes literally the second time we then will be worthy (because of His righteousness) to live in the literal Kingdom of God.

Notice that Jesus Christ fulfills verse three when He came the first time. His own people did not accept Him. They allowed the religious leaders of that day to stir them up against the Lord. That had to happen to fulfill the scriptures. A final supreme sacrifice for our sins had to take place first and then, not only can the Jewish people (children of promise) be saved but also the Gentiles or any other person on the face of the earth now can be saved and inherit eternal life. This is for anyone who believes.

Here is a list of things Jesus suffered at His first coming:

  1. Despised
  2. Rejected
  3. Grief
  4. Sorrow
  5. Bore the sicknesses of the people
  6. Stricken
  7. Smitten of God
  8. Afflicted
  9. Wounded for the sins of all humanity
  10. Bruised for our sins
  11. Chastised in our place
  12. Bore stripes from whips for our healing
  13. Grieved over the departure from truth that came upon all of us since the creation.
  14. Suffered as a criminal in His death on the cross.
  15. Arrested
  16. Was given no mercy but beaten
  17. Travailed in agony when in prayer many times.

We must not look to great and powerful military leaders or strong leaders who promise a good  life here on earth, which passes away and then is no more. We must look to someone who cleanses away sin and brings us a life that lasts forever. This is why so many stumble a the gospel of Jesus Christ. They look for a better life here in this sinful world instead of wanting out of the mess, mire and sin. They run to and fro seeking riches here and neglecting that which is eternal. They do not realize that when Jesus comes into their souls they actually receive life.

When that "Living Water" comes into our lives, we have something that the world cannot have. We have an inner peace, joy and contentment that does not depend on outward circumstances. What possibly could cause the apostle Paul to actually be able to sing in prison? What could cause Steven while evil men were stoning him with large stones and seeing Jesus standing at the Father's right hand, be able to say, "Lay not this sin to their charge?" They saw not a good life here but a life eternal with eternal joy and everlasting peace. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Jesus also when dying and suffering on the cross, cried out, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."

  • Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

This is an exact description of Christ. He actually bore all our grieves and sorrows.

  • Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

He was actually wounded because of our sins. He had none of His own. Every stripe He received in His own body was for our healing. I believe this to mean spiritual as well as physical healing. He already paid the price to redeem us from sin, we just have to believe and receive that. He died that we might live. He took our punishment that we would not have to. He knew that we could never do enough to redeem ourselves from sin. He knew there was no way His creation could possibly save themselves. None of our good works or deeds can be good enough to buy our ticket to heaven and eternal life. Nothing. He knew that He had to buy it for us.

He made that supreme sacrifice. He did it all. All we have to do is receive it by acknowledging our need for it, turning away from sin and turning to Him to take those sins away. We then receive the gift of eternal life, which begins, in our innermost being the very moment we receive Jesus Christ as savior and Lord or our lives. This is eternal. This is everlasting. This is something that does not depend upon this life or the circumstances of this life. It is for those who are poor, for those who are rich, for those who are black, for those who are white, for those who have accomplished nothing and for those who have built great cities. The gospel is for everyone who will receive. Men, women and children.

  • Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

All our sins and iniquity was laid on Jesus Christ upon that cross. This added to His suffering. Not only did Jesus suffer the pain of having nails driven in His hands and feet. Not only was Jesus hanging by the weight of His body on that wooden cross, but He endured the ugly filth of every sin that mankind ever committed in the past or in the future into His own sinless body. That killed Him. "The wages of sin is death." That killed His physical body.

The spirit and soul of Jesus of course did not die but went to preach to the spirits in prison or Hell. After three days in the grave, the body of Jesus was raised from the dead. Jesus was the first fruits of that which was to come upon all of us who believe. That is the promise of eternal life with a new body that cannot die anymore. No more death, pain, sorrow, or crying for those who believe upon the death, burial and resurrection of the very Son of God, Jesus Christ.

  • Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.

This was quoted in Acts. As a man from Ethiopia was reading from the book of Isaiah wondering who Isaiah was speaking of:

  • Act 8:26 But an angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza: the same is desert.
  • 27 And he arose and went: and behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was over all her treasure, who had come to Jerusalem for to worship;
  • 28 and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah.
  • 29 And the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
  • 30 And Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
  • 31 And he said, How can I, except some one shall guide me? And he besought Philip to come up and sit with him.
  • 32 Now the place of the scripture which he was reading was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, So he openeth not his mouth:
  • 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: His generation who shall declare? For his life is taken from the earth.
  • 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other?
  • 35 And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this scripture, preached unto him Jesus.
  • 36 And as they went on the way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch saith, Behold, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
  • 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 
  • 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
  • 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, for he went on his way rejoicing.

The story in Acts of the conversion of the Ethiopian is one example of why Jesus went through all the suffering He did.

Peter also spoke of these things:

  • 1Peter 2:21 For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps: \
  • 22 who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
  • 23 who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
  • 24 who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed.
  • 25 For ye were going astray like sheep; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Jesus could have called the angels of heaven to deliver Him from that horrible death on the cross. He didn't have to die. The soldiers had no power over Jesus. He stayed on that cross and accepted all that suffering for the sake of all that would later believe on Him for their salvation. It was love for us that kept Him on that cross until the work was finished.

  • Isaiah 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

This foretells of His death and why He was killed. Not for anything evil He had done but because of the evil we all did.

  • Isaiah 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

He was actually buried in a borrowed tomb of a rich man.

  • John 19:38 And after these things Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked of Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took away his body.
  • 39 And there came also Nicodemus, he who at the first came to him by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight.
  • 40 So they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.
  • 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb wherein was never man yet laid.
  • 42 There then because of the Jews' Preparation (for the tomb was nigh at hand) they laid Jesus.

He was actually crucified with criminals even though He was innocent of any crime Himself.

  • Luke 23:26 And when they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and laid on him the cross, to bear it after Jesus.
  • 27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him.
  • 28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.
  • 29 For behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the breasts that never gave suck.
  • 30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.
  • 31 For if they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
  • 32 And there were also two others, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.
  • 33 And when they came unto the place which is called The skull, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand and the other on the left.
  • 34 And Jesus said, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And parting his garments among them, they cast lots.
  • 35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also scoffed at him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if this is the Christ of God, his chosen.
  • 36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, offering him vinegar,
  • 37 and saying, If thou art the King of the Jews, save thyself.
  • 38 And there was also a superscription over him, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
  • 39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, Art not thou the Christ? save thyself and us.
  • 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, Dost thou not even fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
  • 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
  • 42 And he said, Jesus, remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom.
  • 43 And he said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.

Thieves were crucified along with Him. It is believed that Jesus was first buried with these men but later Joseph of Arimathaea went to Pilate to plead for the body of Jesus.

  • Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

God was pleased with the results of the death of Jesus not with His actual suffering. God knew that this was the only way to save His creation from Hell and being eternally lost. Jesus was the trespass offering for sin. The guilt offering from sin is described in Leviticus chapters 5, 7, and 19. Also in 1 Samuel chapter 6. Jesus was willing to carry out this on our behalf.

  • Isaiah 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

He actually justifies many. All who believe in Him shall be justified. Made just: Just as if we had never sinned. Mankind remembers our mistakes and sin. When we bring those sins to Christ and have them taken away, God does not remember them any more. This is not a blanket salvation for all mankind. Those that inherit this salvation do so when they receive Christ by turning from sin and believing in His sacrifice on their behalf. Believe as a child believes the word of his or her father and mother.

  • Isaiah 53:12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

This says it all. This is why Jesus came the first time. To make a way for our salvation and pay the price for our sin. Now we have one intercessor between God and us. He makes intercession for the thief on the cross as well as for sinners who want to find God. He still makes intercession for all who believe in Him

  • 1Timothy 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  

At His second coming the one who humbled Himself and allowed Himself to be beaten, mocked, crucified, by evil men, will be exalted and rule over all. He will divide what is given to Him with those that believe in Him and are faithful to Him through all things. Those strong in faith through their battle against evil for God's purpose. Those that follow the Lord through good times as well as bad.

  • Hebrews 7:24  But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 
  • 25  Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.  

 Isaiah 54

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